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HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – A dominating stretch effort extended Tonalist’s Shape unbeaten streak to four in Saturday’s $150,000 Forward Gal Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park.
Breaking from the far outside post 6 as the 1/5 prohibitive favorite under Irad Ortiz, Jr., Tonalist’s Shape was a half-step slow but still kept contact with the main group. Up front, Compensate posted opening fractions of :22.56 and :45.48 while Street of Dreams pressed the pace.
Heading into the far turn, Tonalist’s Shape effortlessly moved up to run three-wide in the clear, and by the top of the stretch, she was positioned perfectly to take command. Given her cue once straightened out, Tonalist’s Shape drew away sharply, putting daylight between her and the field in an instant.
Kept to task until wrapped up in the final 1/16 of a mile, the Saffie Joseph, Jr., trainee crossed 3 3/4 lengths the best in a final time of 1:24.77 for the 7-furlong sprint over the fast main track.
“I got a perfect trip,” said Ortiz, Jr. “She broke out of there a little slow, but she usually does that. She worked her way up pretty quick, and after that, I just went with the flow. When I asked her turning for home, she really responded. She did everything right.”
Though unable to keep pace with the victor, Street of Dreams stayed on for second. Nikki and Papa, making her career debut, drew the rail and veered in sharply once the gates sprung open, spotting the field several lengths. However, jockey Fanny Olsson persevered and eventually closed from 9 lengths back to nip Fujairah for third by a neck.
Compensate and New Day Dawning completed the order of finish.
The Forward Gal is part of the Road to the 2020 Kentucky Oaks prep race season. Tonalist’s Shape earned 10 points for the win, with Street of Dreams receiving 4 for second, Nikki and Papa 2 for third, and Fujairah 1 for fourth.
Tonalist’s Shape’s win was her fourth in as many starts and followed a local 9-length score in the mile-long Hut Hut Stakes on November 30. The 3-year-old daughter of Tonalist has now earned $190,350 for co-owners Slam Dunk Racing, Doug Branham, and Legacy Ranch, who privately purchased her last fall.
“She’s not flashy, but she’s going to do what she needs to do,” said Joseph, Jr. “I’m just glad to have her and thankful that the owners put her in our barn. She’s won with four different riders and she could have probably won with four different trainers. All being well, we’ll go in the Davona Dale ([G2] on February 29) and the Gulfstream Oaks ([G2] on March 28). That would be a good plan for her.”
Tonalist’s Shape returned $2.60 to win, $2.10 to place, and $2.10 to show. Street of Dreams brought back $2.80 to place and $2.20 to show, while Nikki and Papa paid $4 to show.
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